A Dallas County grand jury indicted the father and mother of a dead Richardson girl on Friday.
Wesley Mathews was indicted for capital murder, tampering with evidence, injury to a child and endangering a child. Sini Mathews was indicted on a charge of child abandonment.
"We are going to be the voice for her in this offense, and do all we can to make sure the fair and just thing is done,” said Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson at a Friday press conference.
The capital murder indictment was a new development in the case of 3-year-old Sherin Mathews, who was initially reported missing in Oct. 2017. Wesley initially told Richardson police he put Sherin outside in an alley because she wouldn’t drink her milk. When her body was found weeks later in a Richardson drainage ditch, police said Wesley changed his story and claimed she died while choking on milk.
The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office said last week that while Sherin’s manner of death was homicidal violence, her exact cause of death could not be determined because of extensive decomposition.
Johnson said the result of the autopsy led them to file the capital murder charge.
“We have some information as to what might have happened,” Johnson said. “But we are still investigating, looking into the facts, trying to make our case look better, and get better as we research, investigate and prepare for trial.”
The indictment for capital murder states Wesley used a deadly weapon. The tampering with evidence indictment claims Wesley altered, destroyed and concealed a human corpse with intent to impair evidence for a later police investigation.
Despite the limited details about what actually happened to Sherin, Johnson said she's confident her team will be able to get justice.
"We plan to be very tenacious, persistent, prosecute this case to the fullest, do the best we can,” Johnson said.
Mike Howard is a Dallas County attorney who is not affiliated with the case. He isn't surprised by the DA’s decision to remain tight-lipped on any potential evidence her office may have in the high-profile case.
“It's completely normal for attorneys on both sides of the case to not want to talk about the facts or what they anticipate to come out in trial,” Howard said. “It's important for all sides for a trial to proceed and be fair and impartial so justice can come out in a court of law.”
In a statement, Sini’s legal team said "The indictments handed down today by a Dallas County Grand Jury confirm what we have previously stated. Sini Mathews had nothing to do with the tragic death of Sherin Mathews."
If Wesley is convicted of capital murder, he could face life in prison or the death penalty. The DA’s office has not yet decided if it will seek the death penalty.